Creating a culture of innovation with Shipit

I found out today that my Shipit was selected for the founder’s death match, which means we will be presenting in front of our co-CEO’s at Atlassian. For those that don’t know, Shipit is a 24 hour hackathon which we have quarterly. You form a team, build something and then pitch it to an audience made of your co-workers at your local office. People vote on it and the top 2 winners go on to the next round.

We ended up winning the whole thing in Mountain View office! Its an exciting feeling to have come first in the office based on votes by your co-workers. Now we’ve been selected in the top 2 around the world to present in front of our CEO’s. Hence its called the founder death match!

I can’t tell you my idea because then I’d have to kill you 🙂 Its top secret haha. But I wanted to write to tell you what I like about Shipit and what it means to me.

Me at Shipit 45!

I’ve participated in 10 Shipits over my 3 years at Atlassian. I’ve found that Shipit is a great time to innovate. To stop what we are doing now, take a break for 2 days and work on something new. Sometimes we’re knee deep in a project and its great to have a mental break.

However, I have also found Shipits to be exhausting because of the time pressure and trying to make your idea work in 24 hours! You’ve got to bring together people that might not have worked together, define requirements, build something very focused, pivot and then trim away at your idea that’s too big!

Shipit is a great time to try something new. I find that its great for
* Fixing something that’s bugging you
* Working on something that didn’t make the roadmap but you wish you could work on
* An out of the box idea that could make your product better
* Trying something completely outside your comfort zone by working with new people, new tools, new skills or new domain areas.

These hackathons and shipits create a culture of continuous innovation. For me, its a great time to personally grow and learn new things. From the business’s perspective, it can generate new ideas and collaborations between people. So I’d highly encourage your workplace to try it!

I’m going to start writing some shorter blog posts more frequently to share my thoughts, so please give me feedback 🙂

I’m out like Shipit,
Matthew Ho

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